Course Overview ES
The IB PYP is a framework guided by six transdisciplinary themes of global significance, explored using knowledge and skills derived from six subjects areas, as well as transdisciplinary skills, with a powerful emphasis on inquiry- based learning.
Core subjects are taught by a homeroom teacher. Technology, Physical Education, and Music are taught by specialist teachers who all use traditional techniques, best practices, as well as inquirybased instruction.
Math is taught in German according to the GAIS-developed curriculum which combines relevant standards from the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO), State of California, and German-speaking countries.
German is taught as a native language to all students. Kindergarten is a German-immersion program, with German the language of instruction for all subjects other than English in grades 1-4. German support is offered to children from non-German speaking homes or as needed. The German curriculum follows the standards from German-speaking countries, ensuring a smooth transition from or to German-speaking schools in Europe.
English is taught as a native language to all students, with assistance offered to students arriving from German- speaking countries. GAIS emphasizes reading and writing and helps students develop excellent communication skills.
Units of Inquiry
All students study the classic core subjects such as Math, German, English, Art, PE and IT. In the PYP it is necessary to balance the program of inquiry and any core subject.
Consequently the homeroom teachers plan the units of inquiry together with all core subject teachers. Whenever possible the core subjects are integrated into the unit of study for content and concept.
Example fourth grade:
The students inquired about how lifestyle has evolved over time. The concepts they were exploring were causation (why it is the way it is) and connection (how it is connected to other things). One of their investigations involved changes in school life over the years.
Their German writing piece was a fantasy story about school 100 years ago (content). They also looked at the language arts topic of word roots connecting the conceptual understanding with the question: From where do words originate? In Math they worked on diagrams using examples from the development of traffic.
It is a real life, inquiry-based on the causation question: Why was the data displayed in this form? When teaching large numbers the teacher used the example of growing population, before strengthening the skill in a math book. As an art connection the children worked on collage material and created collages of themselves in clothes that children would have been worn 100 years ago.
Communication & Presentation Skills
The curriculum and the summative assessments provide many opportunities for students to present their work in written, oral or visual form helping them develop excellent presentation skills.
Personal & Social Education
The Elementary School takes an integrated approach to teaching health and safety, organizing oneself for learning, interactions with others, and self-concept. The curriculum fosters students’ thinking about their place in the world, their impact on the earth, and their development as respectful, responsible, global citizens.
The PYP promotes the development of a list of behaviors that we call the learner profile. The PYP supports that children become inquirers, thinkers, communicators, risk-takers, knowledgeable, principled, caring, open-minded, well-balanced and reflective. The PYP also lists attitudes to be developed in the children that will contribute to the student profile. These are: appreciation, commitment, confidence, cooperation, creativity, curiosity, empathy, enthusiasm, independence, integrity, respect, and tolerance.
Starting in the 2nd grade, students are taught how to use technology safely for research and presentations. All classes have computer corners.
On campus, our students take two hours of physical education per week. The PE program‘s primary goals are to encourage lively participation in sports and to encourage an understanding of the importance of a balanced, healthy lifestyle.
GAIS hosts an annual SportFest competition at the Stanford Track for all Elementary and Middle School students.
GAIS Elementary School students are members of many local teams, including soccer, field hockey, lacrosse, swimming, volleyball, ice-hockey, fencing, track and field and dancing; the school can make referrals as appropriate.
Visual & Performing Arts
The Orff program creates musical awareness and literacy. Visual, digital media, and performing arts are taught at the Elementary School.